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Apr 11, 2014 Analysis of new data from the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights—collected from each of the nation’s 97,000 public schools—paints a troubling picture of unequal access to preschool, disparate teacher pay and quality, and students unprepared for college and a career. For far too many students, success in school is still out of reach. Further, and most relevant to Vera’s work, children and youth of color are more likely to be...

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Apr 9, 2014 On Tuesday night, Vera held its eight annual benefit, Our Youth – Our Future, and honored Bryan Stevenson and David Fein for their significant contributions to improving our justice systems. Following opening remarks by Vera Board Chairman John Savarese, Vera President Nick Turner asked the audience to imagine what the room would look like if a third of its occupants were absent. If current incarceration rates continue, he said, that is the future in...

Apr 4, 2014 It’s been more than ten years since Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), and in February, the Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center became the first juvenile facility—and one of the first correctional facilities of any kind—to be certified as PREA compliant. On April 17, Vera will deliver a webinar on the Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center’s audit experience. The webinar will feature PREA Resource Center Co-Director (and Vera...

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Apr 4, 2014 When friends and family who work in different fields ask me to describe Vera’s work in youth justice, they are inevitably perplexed when I first mention our status offense reform efforts. “Status offenses? Never heard of them.” But if I go on to describe what falls under that heading, the conversation gets interesting. People are shocked to learn how frequently children are locked in secure detention facilities for skipping school, running away, or...

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Apr 1, 2014 The Obama administration released its budget for fiscal year 2015 earlier this month, and as reported by the National Council on Aging, it contains several changes to how programs affecting seniors are funded, ranging from Medicare adjustments to cuts in Social Security wait times. Many of these initiatives are welcome: a proposed $56.5 million increase to Section 202 housing and a $15 million increase to programs that offer home finance-related counseling...
Mar 28, 2014 An upturn in violence at New York City’s Rikers Island Jail has been the focus of recent media attention, most notably in the February death of veteran Jerome Murdough in an overheated cell and the arrest of a correction officer charged in the August 2012 death of another inmate with a history of psychiatric needs detained in the jail. Mayor Bill de Blasio has subsequently promised reform at Rikers Island, one of the nation’s largest jails at a capacity...

Mar 14, 2014 Last month, President Obama introduced a new initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” which brings together government, business, philanthropy, the faith community, nonprofits, and others to work together to create more pathways to success for young men of color. The President spoke of current racial disparities and their historical roots, saying, “The plain fact is, there are some Americans who in the aggregate are consistently doing worse in our society....

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